tv 20th Century UFO Conspiracies CSPAN July 23, 2017 12:00am-1:16am EDT
course of barack's presidency, there were scores and scores of people in illinois who had known him years earlier who were deeply disappointed with the trajectory of the obama presidency. and disappointed in two ways -- number one, disappointed that barack forgot many of the people, most of the people who were essential to his political rise. >> sunday night on 8:00 eastern on c-span's q&a. >> on lectures in history, emory university professor felix harcourt teaches a class on how conspiracy theories about ufos have shaped american culture. he begins in the late 1940's and describes how public opinion about extraterrestrials changed over the course of the 20th century, often paralleling societal anxieties.
this class is about one hour and 15 minutes. prof. harcourt: let us start with the question that i am sure that no one will have any problem having their answer recorded for television 4. a show of hands -- how many people believe alien life exists? a number of people. i think so. stephen hawking thinks so. there is a probability that alien life has evolved and probably looks pretty different from us but they may be out there. slightly different question. how many of us believe that aliens have come to earth? sergio, the only man with a strength of his convictions.
another question. is the idea that aliens have visited earth, in and of itself, another question. is the idea that aliens have a conspiracy theory? sergio? >> probably not. if you take into account that we are trying to get to mars, there would technically be alien life there. to say that another life form has become intelligent enough to do space travel and visit another planet is not a conspiracy theory. felix harcourt: that seems fair. >> it depends on how you define the scope of a conspiracy if you take into account that we theory. it would take a species collaborating together to land on another planet. felix harcourt: that seems reasonable. it seems a little odd to indict the entire planet of wherever for wanting to come to visit. even if we are arguably -- maybe
we could consider it a conspiracy theory, it would be a conspiracy of aliens among themselves which is not what we talk about when we talk about ufo conspiracy theories. those are theories, alien conspiracy theories, that include an element of human complicity, usually of government complicity. these ideas that there are not only aliens visiting earth, but that the state is in some way involved with those visits is a really prominent conspiracy theory. it is not really one, but a multitude of conspiracy theories. like the kennedy conspiracy that we talked about last week, to just stand here and name every ufo conspiracy theory would take
much longer than we have in this class. tragically, we will not be talking about the fact that nasa is hiding the existence of planet visitors. or that we are in secret contact with andromeda and part of a vast intergalactic war. and we will not be talking about how the earth is hollow and filled with interstellar beings who may or may not have been allied with the nazis in world war ii, depending on who you ask. there may be a few smiles at those ideas. which is understandable. but these are real ideas that real people fiercely and fully believe in. and we should be clear, before we dig into this too much.
as bridget brown makes clear in the reading you did for today. not everyone that believes in ufos, believes in ufo conspiracy as bridget brown makes clear in the reading you did for today. not everyone that believes in ufos, believes in ufo conspiracy theories. even amongst those that do believe in ufo conspiracy theories, there is a wide variation. we keep coming back to this idea of fringe conspiracy is him -- fringe conspiracy and that is very much in evidence. it is worth thinking about. that these ufo conspiracy theories are widely treated as something laughable. in fact, serious discussion of them is really an effective cultural taboo. we talked about the labeling of something as conspiracy as a distancing measure. alien conspiracy theories are possibly one of the most evident examples of the distancing of conspiracy believes from acceptable discourse. and yet, at the same time, even as they are treated as
laughable, they are some of the most widely believed conspiracy theories. if we go back to the 1960's, gallup polls find 96% of americans had heard of ufos. 46% believed they were real. 1973, 57% believed that ufos are real. by the 1990's, 71% believe the government is, at least, hiding information about ufos. they may or may not be real but there is definitely more going on there then the government is letting us know. and those numbers remained relatively stable. 2015, full shows that 56% believed that ufos are real.
45% believed that aliens have actually landed and visited earth, on top of that. to put that into context, 56% believe ufos are real, in that same survey, 57% showed that the big bang theory was real. this is very much a widely held belief that is very mainstream. at least, the idea that something is going on with ufos. even if we narrow it into a specific example, like roswell, a majority of americans will repeatedly say that they are at the very least, unsure whether or not a flying saucer crashed in roswell, new mexico. and we have this odd disconnect
between this very, very mainstream idea, this majority idea and yet the way that it is treated within our political and cultural discourse. the idea that weird lights or objects in the sky is something to be concerned about, is nothing new. but then, if you are a serf in 13th century europe, what are you going to think the floating lights in the sky might be? aliens? witches? omens of doom? any other guesses? any other guesses? god. witches. omens. overwhelmingly, a supernatural explanation.
and it is not really until we start to see that enlightenment rationalism supplant these ideas of divine providence, that we move from the supernatural to scientific explanations for these unexplained phenomena. although, even then, we need to be careful about drawing too wide of a divide between those two as we will see those ideas remain thoroughly intertwined. >> 11% of the people here think ufos are real but do not think that aliens have visited earth. i was wondering -- ufos -- unidentified flying object -- where is the boundary? ufos are real but do not think unidentified according to who? there are a lot of things i see flying in the sky that i cannot identify but i assume someone
can. felix harcourt: the wording is not great in the polls. the way the pool explains that is -- not that there is an 11% difference between those that believe ufos are an extraterrestrial phenomena, or what is commonly referred to as the extraterrestrial hypothesis that ufos are real and alien related. the difference is that 56% believed that ufos are real, 11% fewer believe that some of those ufos have landed and we have had contact with the aliens. that is the differential playing out there. the differential between something else going on is that 56% going up to 71% from the 1990's if the idea that something is going on with this question. and that idea that there is something going on has a long history.
the concern over extraterrestrial contact has a long history. if we go back to 1835, the new york newspaper, the sun, garners major attention in reporting that an astronomer has found life on the moon. life in the shape of a series of humanoid bat people. it turns out, unsurprisingly, that it is a hoax. i am sorry to disappoint anyone that was hoping that there are bat people really living on the moon. but it points us to the idea -- to the idea of the ideas that are already percolating around in the 19th century. that becomes more evident in the late 19th century. in 1891, when thomas alleges that a man from mars appeared in the kitchen of his rural home and fully endorsed late 19th
century democratic socialist utopianism. which was nice for thomas to hear since he was already a believer in such things. or, in 1896, and 1897, where you see a series of unexplained air ships seen in the skies over the west coast. there is a really interesting variety of stories that come out about these airships. some of them claim that they humanoid beings inside peddling to make it go. if that is a spaceship, that is a lot of peddling. some allegedly called out to the airships as it goes over and the airship called back down to say that they are from mars. even in the 19th century, people are very fixated about life on mars.
but there are those ideas that there is a long history or concern about contact with extraterrestrial life and that extraterrestrial life visiting us here on earth. but when we talk about modern ufo conspiracy, what we are really talking about is the post world war ii era. and these conspiracies paint and -- an alternative history of america from the cold war to the present. what we might call ethnosociologies of extraterrestrial conspiracies. that reflect extraterrestrial concerns about agency, state power, about disempowerment and depersonalization. about ideas of expertise and of
authority and especially ideas of skepticism. about expertise and authority and about narratives of progress whether social or scientific. that modern ufo phenomena in really gets kick started after world war ii in 1947 by this gentleman, kenneth arnold. people had seen -- pilots had seen unidentified phenomena during world war ii. they get commonly referred to as foo fighters which is where the band name comes from. but it is not until kenneth arnold's sighting in late june, 19 47, of what he describes to newspapers as flying discs. word gets widely reported as flying saucers that the modern ufo phenomenon begins.
and it spreads very, very quickly. over the july 4 holiday that year, thousands of men and women contact authorities to report more than 850 sightings of ufos. that has never been paralleled since. there has never been such a frenzy of ufo sightings as there was over independence holiday in 1940 seven. although sightings remained fairly common through to the early 1950's. and then, you get pictures like this from new jersey from 1962 alleging a sighting of an unidentified flying object. unsurprisingly, we see a variety of efforts to try to explain this phenomenon.
two of the most influential voices in that process are frank scully and donald kehoe. scully was a writer for variety magazine. who publishes behind the flying saucers in 1950. where he really focuses in on the story of flying saucers that crash in the american southwest. and where did that crash take place? not roswell. but thank you for falling into my easy trap. scully says that they crashed in aztec, new mexico. neither men ever mentioned braswell. we will talk later about why that is. scully says saucers crashed in aztec. not only did they crash, but bodies are found.
3-4 foot tall alien beings. really cementing the modern idea of the little green man comes out of his books. he also claims that the saucers come, not from mars, but from venus. and the 1950's are a really key time in a mars-venus battle over where these flying saucers come from. scully loses popularity after 1952 because true magazine publishes an extensive article debunking his entire book, pointing out the fact that most were really all of his sources are professional con men and really spending page after page making fun of scully for believing those con men and even
making fun of how terrible his writing is. it was a really mean article. and it destroys his credibility. but, scully's ideas are really going to have a long shelf life. in recent years, there has been an uptick in people trying to attract some of the roswell attract some of the roswell tourism away over to aztec and publishing new books saying that scully was right and saucers really did crash in aztec, new mexico. a little bit more a credible, at the time, then scully was donald kehoe, a retired officer from the marine corps who writes three very popular books. the flying saucers are real, which is released in 1950.
flying saucers from outer space which comes out in 1953. and the flying saucer conspiracy in 1955. and donald kehoe reports conversations and interviews that he has purportedly had with air force officers and specifically air force intelligence officers, to try to substantiate his warnings that first of all, ufos are real, and military pilots are encountering them on a semi regular basis, second of all, he thinks are is a very good chance that the aliens have set up a mothership in orbit of earth and the ufos are coming from that mothership rather than all the way from another planet. and thirdly, that these ufos are most likely from mars. he is not a venus fan. he is back on the mars train.
and what is interesting about donald kehoe is that he does see a conspiracy. he does see a conspiracy by the military to cover up the reality that earth is being visited by these flying saucers. but, he does not blame them for specifically air force doing so. for donald kehoe, what he calls the silence group is acting out of a desire to protect national security, and a desire to prevent public hysteria. and while he disagrees with that decision, he sees it as a matter of reasonable disagreement. he does not see nefarious motives at work. and that is an idea that is going to change significantly
over the 1960's and especially coming out of the 1970's and into the 1980's. but it is really easy, at the time, to see the impact of writers like donald kehoe who see a conspiracy, silenced, but not necessarily a nefarious conspiracy of silence. by 1952, the same here is that true magazine is debunking scully, life magazine leads with a big front cover splash of marilyn monroe and the headline -- there is a case for interplanetary saucers and life comes down hard in that issue to say that they think something probably is going on with ufos. marilyn monroe and the headline less concerned with credibility but no less influential in
putting these ideas into the american consciousness is the glut of alien invasion films in the 1950's. of course, the classic invasion of the body snatchers but also the invasion of the saucer man, killers from space, earth versus the flying saucers and more. and there are a couple of interesting elements to be brought out from these films. not the least of which is a lot of them deal with aliens either taking control of the minds of humans or of replacing them in tire with look-alikes. and given that these are coming out mid to late 1950's, but other things have we been talking about that coincides with that? marissa?
certainly communist infiltration. >> brainwashing of pows. felix harcourt: good. and this is very much playing on two simultaneous fears bubbling up in the 1950's. not just that the communists are infiltrating but that they are infiltrating through this kind of mind control and appearing that with a fear of extraterrestrial threat. it really is an extraterrestrial threats. these films overwhelmingly buy into a donald kehoe styled view about what is happening. the threat is purely extraterrestrial. it is not human. in fact, most of these films, rather than the state being complicit or suspect, government agents, particularly military
agents, are the heroes, they are the ones saving us from these extraterrestrial threats. >> what is behind the aliens being a threat? is there a thought about why they are doing that? felix harcourt: the why of the conspiracy -- there is not complicit or suspect, government really a single, unifying idea in the 1950's. other than domination. the plan is always to conquer the world. why they want to conquer the world is open for interpretation. their own planet is dying. maybe it is because they want to make us into slaves. there is some pretty wide latitude there. good question. so, we see this donald kehoe styled opposite of paranoia at
work to some extent. does anyone remember the word for the opposite of paranoia? not quite. security is the middle line. not quite. what do you call that when a conspiracy is acting for your good and not against you? not paranoia. but pronoia. this is very much an example of that type of conspiracy thinking. that is evident in another thread of extraterrestrial phenomena that emerges in the 1950's which is an increasing number of people who claim that
not only have they seen ufos, but that they have been contacted by aliens. and this is really kicked off by a man named george odamsky. he is the first contactee to publish a book length account of his experience in 1953. and he contradicts virtually everything else that has come before him. he says that they are not from mars but venus. and if scully is right about them being from venus, he is wrong about them being short. he says they are about 5'6", they are humanoid and very beautiful. he also says that they are not a threat. he says the coming was friendly. he is going to lose popular support in the 1960's after he claims that he will be leaving any day now for an interplanetary conference on
saturn and somehow never quite makes his appointment for that. but, his ideas, his narrative that there are these friendly visitors has very much caught on. and throughout the 1950's, you see this series of encounters with extraterrestrial beings who have seemingly calm to warn humanity about our warlike humanity about our warlike nature, to warn us that nuclear weapons will destroy us all. a very pure distillation of common cold war fears at the time. cold war fears also airing no nature, to warn us that nuclear small resemblance to the 1951 film "the day the earth stood still" which is basically the exact same plot that he recounts two years later. no really believes him at the time.
there is still this pro-noia at work in the early 1950's. the idea that the government might be lying to us about it being for our own good. but yes, that aliens are visiting but they are doing it for our own good. that increasingly will take a darker turn as we move out of the 1950's into the 1960's. you start to see not least the government's motives and methods becoming much darker in hiding the truth. that is especially going to become symbolized by the idea of the men in black. and the men in black is an idea that is really -- kind of more or less put into play by an author called gray darker. he is an interesting guy.
barker makes a pretty good living publishing books about supposedly true ufo encounters. but, to friends, privately calls flying saucers a "bucket of shit." very much capitalizing on this threat. but he is going to more or less launch this idea of men in black in his 1956 book "they knew too much about flying saucers." a book based on the experiences of a factory clerk from connecticut, albert bender who claimed that three men in black suits had approached him and intimidated him into not telling the truth about his alien encounter. obviously bender had not been that silent given that he was a,
able to tell gray barker about it and b, publishes own book about it in 1962 in which he explains that it's not the martians, an actual effect he had been taken for a ride in a flying saucer to the south pole by grizzly monster like aliens. despite the -- let's be generous and say skepticism with which we might greet albert bender's story, the idea that government agents and these sinister men in black are working to hide true information really gains popularity, and it really takes off going through the 1960's and 1970's. and there is an interesting phenomenon going on with just the men in black themselves,
in that quite often they are characterized as all human agents of the state, but at the same time, are often given in human or unearthly characteristics, characteristics that very often believe the difference between these scientific and supernatural expressions. and often demonic powers are ascribed to the men in black, walking as if they are not of this earth, not blinking, unnatural powers of persuasion, even up to and including the idea that when they appear, an odor of sulfur also appears. this very, very literal callback to folklore about demonic appearance. the fact that traditionally they also appear in numbers of 3, also heavily rooted in mystical
supernatural texts. and it's not just accounts of human action that take a darker turn as we move into the 1960's. increasingly, narratives of alien contact are going to turn away from friendly warnings about war into abduction and experimentation. that starts with a couple from new hampshire, betty and barney hill, who claim to have been abducted in 1961. although their story does not really receive wide publicity until 1965. and the hill's abduction will
set the template for all of the abduction narratives that come soon after. in looking at the spread of abduction conspiracism is interesting and we compare it to kennedy conspiracism. this is very much a grassroots endeavor, and is not somebody sitting behind their desks saying, this is what you will need to believe is the truth. it is all these people going out and trying to uncover the truth themselves. the difference being that in terms of abduction conspiricism, they are not detectives. they are not looking for evidence. they are not turning themselves into experts on bullet trajectories. they themselves are the evidence, their own abduction experience proves the truth of their conspiracy. >> do you feel that these people are trying to uncover the truth,
or just trying to get book deals? it feels like i could make up a story and turn it into a public affair and get a lot of publicity for it. i don't know, do you have any idea of their motives? >> i think it's really too complex of a question to have a single answer to. while there are certainly criticisms leveled against abductees -- or experiences, as they prefer to be called -- while there are these accusations that they are just trying to profit, trying to cash in and sell books, on the other hand, as bridget brown points us to, a lot of these people that say they have been abducted, that is a socially devastating phenomenon.
they are going to be cut off from groups of friends. they are going to be ostracized. they risk being fired from work. so you can benefit from this, but you are really going to have to benefit from within the world of ufo abduction conspiracism. >> one thing that question gets at is the paranoid style from hofstetter doesn't seem to be enough to explain these kind of first-person encounters. it's unlike anything we have seen in any other conspiracy. so we need another framework to understand. it could be profit motive or it could be mental illness. something that came up in the reading. is there kind of a third prong to that, a different schema through which we can approach these people? >> outside of, they are either crazy or trying to make money? the third prong would be that they have been abducted by aliens, i suppose. right?
the problem is we are never really going to know for sure what their motivations are in this. but you're right, it is this fundamental difference between earlier conspiracism that we have talked about, where people are bearing the burden of this conspiracy themselves. it's their own experience. pearl harbor conspiracists are not saying they are the ones that flew the planes to pearl harbor. kennedy conspiracists are not saying they're the ones who took the shot. this is fundamentally different, where they are saying they have been abducted. >> i think some of that could be lack of verifiability. when you claim it is your own narrative and that you are abducted by aliens or what have you, there is no factual ground point. the kennedy assassination, you have x, y, z happened, those are
undisputed. kennedy was shot. >> unless you have someone that says kennedy is still alive. >> i feel like in these, one of the rhetorically useful thing about saying it was your own experience is that no one can really deny that. >> yeah. and that is at the root of why ufo conspiracism can become so extensive, because we have talked about this, the fact that in terms of abduction evidence, that evidence is by definition personal, it is by definition subjective, and once we move away from the objective veracity of physical evidence, what do we get to? what we have been talking about the last couple of classes. >> [inaudible] >> yeah, but this kind of wider issue.
we talked about it with king thompson. >> knowing that we can't ever know what happened, so we are left with how we interpret the things we can personally experience. this sounds a lot like religion. why are we so quick to discount ufos when we base everything on this word of god and these personal experiences? >> okay, so to the extent that we talk about mystical angelic visitations, why do we accept those but discount ufo visitations? it's a good question. some people combine the two. some people say ufos are angelic visitors. some people or scholars tend to say they are coming from the same kind of place, the people who are saying they were abducted now are the people who would have said they were
visited by angels several hundred years ago. >> one troubling thing is the numbers you brought up earlier. like the 1947 spike after kenneth arnold when 800 people came forward with alien stories. the likelihood that these trends, all of them certainly -- all of a sudden being from venus or mars followed verifiable truth, especially when you can't follow up with physical evidence, is certainly problematic. >> certainly, and it is inscribed into the name, they are literally called unidentified flying objects. the problem is all of these conspiracies are trying to inscribe them with meaning, or trying to identify something that is by definition unidentified. and so we do reach that same kind of point of crisis of knowing, as we have been talking about, that epistemological
crisis, that rumsfeldian mantra, that we were talking about on tuesday, that there are these known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns, things that you don't know that you don't know. those are what will allow ufo conspiracies and to be so extensive. once you move away from the strictures of any physical evidence, pretty much anything is going to come into play. but still, the fact that there is this wide latitude of where conspiracies could go, the fact that they tend to track within these trends would seem to suggest something to us about how they are being shaped by their historical context. for example, these abduction narratives, the fact that as
they are refined and revised over the following years by authors like whitley strieber, that they become ever more they -- more focused on medical experimentation and focused on graphic and explicit sexual violation. and scholars like brown draw a direct link between the kind of evolution of these abduction narratives and changing anxieties over sexual and reproductive sociologies and technologies. the fact that these abduction narratives start around the time that new forms of contraception are coming into play, around the time that new forms of sexual liberation are coming into play,
the fact that increasingly these abduction narratives focus on reproductive experimentation after the roe v. wade decision 1970's and especially in line with the culture wars over abortion in the 1980's. >> do you think there is a separation between people who look into this as an interest versus the issue of how it relates to religion, and the fact that it almost has a basis in science? and like, that extraterrestrials are here to study us, they are not here to, i don't know, save us or take us back to their planet or something like that, but in this case they are here to study reproductive systems of humans or take over your brain.
to me, it seems like the opposite side of religion. because like, people who look at this can say there is a basis of scientific evidence, maybe not evidence, but theory behind it. >> that there is a rational motive behind why. >> instead of just an angel flying through the air, it is a machine made by beings who have the intelligence, coming with a motive to learn about humans. >> certainly. although you could make a fairly good argument that although they are supernatural, angels or divine providence would have a rational reason why they came into play as well. >> i think the relationship between angels and aliens has to do with the need to believe in something bigger than yourself
and bigger than what we have going on here on earth. and i think a lot of people that become religious after something bad has happened is because they are looking for reassurance or they are needing to believe that everything happens for a reason. and i think that you can apply that logic to the belief in aliens, the things people think are happening is because something else exists. >> and that phrase there, right, everything happens for a reason. we have talked about that before as one of these founding mantras of conspiracism, that everything happens within a conspiracy for a reason, that it is part of a plan. and in a kind of divine providential version of that, it is because of god's plan. in an enlightenment rationalist view of that, it is happening because of a human, or in this case, extraterrestrial agency. but there is a plan, there is something happening.
>> i still think there's a difference there because in terms of god's plan, that is completely centered around humans. and earth. if you are looking at extraterrestrials, you are recognizing that there is another planet with a population of other beings, other life and other realities besides just human reality. and i feel like the idea of god and god's plan has to do with only a human reality. that would bring in -- response to something happening, looking to god or looking to aliens would be two different narratives. >> i think alien conspiracies are similar to only a particular type of religion.
most religious people i think are similar to the way most of us that think aliens are out somewhere. alien conspiracies we have talked about or more similar to the pre-millenialists we talked about, where it starts extending to where we can see. >> there are, as we will hopefully get to, there are people who make an explicit connection there as well. there are those that make an explicit linkage between this evangelical pre-millennial dispensationalism and extraterrestrials, usually folding extraterrestrials in as
agents of satan, as agents of the antichrist within those prophecies. these are interesting questions. they are big questions that unfortunately i don't think we will be able to answer today. but that relationship between extraterrestrial visitation and supernatural religious visitation is intimately intertwined. and these otherworldly supernatural elements are key parts of these abduction narratives. these alien narratives. it is not just religious narratives playing into this. these narratives have strong elements of native american captivity narratives, from the 17th and 18th centuries. fears of white colonists, particularly of white female
colonists being abducted and held captive by native americans. in terms of their sexual content, they are almost pornographic detail that these abduction narratives go into. there is a significant rhetorical debt owed to the anti-catholic escaped nun narratives of the early 20th centuries, some of which we saw advertised in those klan newspapers that we were all looking at. there are a lot of different elements coming into this. not just sexual anxiety as well, anxieties about race. the fact that the first abducted couple is an interracial couple is not unrelated. the fact that one of the major fears in the 1960's as interracial marriage is ruled legal by the supreme court. the fact that these fears of
miscegenation are very present even as the alien abduction story presents new fears of interspecies sex. those are not unrelated elements. and you have this interesting conflation, as brown points to, between the individual body of the abductee, of the experiencer, and of the national body, of the citizenry as a whole who is being violated by this conspiracy. and it is increasingly a conspiracy. it is something in which the government is complicit in. it is also worth talking very briefly, related to that question of race -- there is an odd eugenicist element that plays into alien abduction theories coming up through the 1970's, 1980's, 1990's as well.
while there is this huge taxonomy of alien races that gets constructed, there are kind of three key races, species, whatever you want to call them. one of which is the pleiadians, who are described as benevolent and loving and beautiful and highly evolved, spiritual. anyone want to guess what they are meant to look like? >> caucasians? >> caucasians? any specific kind? blonde, blue-eyed. they are incredibly aryan. in fact they are commonly referred to as tall nordics. nordic itself being a term of eugenicist taxonomy coming out of the early 20th century, as opposed to those lower-class
southern europeans who can't be counted as being as racially superior as the nordics. you see the short gray as a kind of equivalent of southern europeans to an extent in this taxonomy. the short gray, whose description owes a debt to those little green men, to the movies of the 1950's, to frank scully explanations, but whose popular appearance culture is really cemented by betty and barney hill again. not only do they set the template for the abduction narrative, they said the image for what the gray alien with big eyes looks like. it really cements that in the popular consciousness.
the other big grouping of alien species within these taxonomies are old friends, the reptilians, or to give them their ufo conspiracy name, the draconians, who are these tall lizard people who are probably hiding amongst us, plotting to take over the earth at anytime. anybody remember the english conspiracist we talked about before who was focused in on these reptilians? >> i don't remember that, but i did read something recently that popped up saying that someone had seen justin bieber turning into his reptilian form. [laughter] that he is a secret giant lizard. >> that he is also one of them. >> yeah, which i had never heard before. >> very talented.
>> lizard people are everywhere matthew. we can't discount this. especially if you are david icke, the english conspiracist we talked about on her very first day of class, who is thoroughly an advocate of the idea that the lizard people are the queen, the president, virtually everyone in high office. anyone remember what icke thinks that they do? how do they survive? >> they drink the blood of blonde people, basically? >> they drink the blood of blue-eyed blonde haired children, these aryan children. again they are this specific racial threat, containing these deep elements of anti-semitic blood libel myth as well.
>> i was going to ask -- i don't know if it is a conspiracy, theory but since they are described as draconians feeding on aryan like children, could they be feeding on pleiadian children? >> well, now we are getting into the deep weeds. depending on who you ask, the pleiadians and draconians may be working together. on the other hand, they may be in a millennia long war. on the other hand we may be the descendents of the pleiadians. on the other hand the reptilians may have traveled back in time to create us to create a food source for themselves.
which is to say, virtually any answer is possible to your question. as we have established with this system logical crisis divorced from physical evidence, virtually any conspiracy theory is possible. and those conspiracy theories are increasingly going to make the government complicit. and an excellent example of that is roswell. allegedly, flying saucer crashes in roswell in july 1947, right on trend with our other ufo sightings. and because it is surrounded by this wealth of other ufo sightings and because the air force pretty quickly declares the wreckage found in roswell to be that of a weather balloon, the media moves on. there are hundreds more ufo sightings to report on. and it's not until the boom in ufo conspiracism coming out of
the late 1970's that roswell really regains attention in conspiracist circles. we talked about this a little on tuesday. why might we see a boom in antigovernment conspiracism in the late 1970's? >> you have watergate. then you have the revelation of cointelpro, chaos, and all these things coming out, the church committee. a lot of operations that the public did not know about that are now in the public. >> good. we have watergate, the church committee, all these revelations of cia misdeeds, mk ultra, leaving more credence to the idea of secret medical experimentation going on. and there is a very explicit linkage being made in the late 1970's between this post
watergate era and a boom in alien conspiracism, particularly abduction conspiracism. you see the establishment of citizens against ufo secrecy in 1977, an organization dedicated to using freedom of information act requests to get the government to reveal the truth about ufos, which is a most -- almost beautifully naive. the fact that you think the government is planning a huge conspiracy, but because the law is on your side you can get them to reveal those secrets. it really is a nice sentiment. but not only does citizens against ufo secrecy come along, but a nuclear physicist turned ufologist rediscovers roswell.
we'll want to drop overly simplistic links between this post watergate national concern and this boom in roswell conspiracism. but sometimes the researchers themselves make that subtext text. stanton friedman explicitly says roswell is a cosmic watergate. other rival researchers like don schmidt described the kennedy assassination as a formative experience and compare the government statements on roswell to the warren commission report. in neither case can this official document be trusted. philip corso, who writes the really popular "the day after roswell," is a firm advocate of the two oswalds theory of the
kennedy assassination, and goes further than that to say that the whole cold war is a cover to develop anti-alien defense mechanisms. and you see this flood of roswell literature through the 1980's, through the 1990's that says yes, the government covered it up, and they didn't do it for our own good. instead it is a litany of misinformation and misdeeds. no longer is the air force this benign body trying to protect the public from national hysteria, now president truman sets up magic 12 in 1947 as a special government body to cover up the truth about ufos, presumably also in charge of those men in black.